State Award Named for Red Cross Volunteer

By EILENE E. GUY, American Red Cross volunteer

CANTON – The father of emergency medical technician (EMT) training got an early Father’s Day “card.”

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Jack Liberator, flanked by Brittany Paxos, left and Kim Kroh, right

On May 22, Jack B. Liberator of Canton received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the State of Ohio EMS Board for his pioneering contributions to the field of EMT training in Ohio and across the nation.

The American Red Cross has played a role in Jack’s career of service from the very beginning.

As a senior in high school, Jack joined the newly-formed Canton Township Fire Department and helped organize an emergency squad. He turned to the Red Cross for first aid training and quickly became an instructor for his own and nearby departments.

“I was going to Kent (State University) to become a teacher,” he said, “but I found I like going out on the squad; I liked patient care, so I switched over to become a nurse.”

As a newly-minted registered nurse in Columbus, Jack was struck by the primitive treatment of emergency victims, who often received transportation but little or no care, until they reached the hospital doors.  So in his “spare time,” he started teaching his own specialized classes in emergency medical care to fire departments in the Columbus area.

In 1958, the State Department of Education asked Jack to draft a comprehensive course in emergency victim care and rescue procedures. His student and instructor courses – the first statewide curriculum in the nation – became the foundation of modern EMT services and were widely copied.

Meanwhile, Jack pursued a career as a nursing and hospital administrator, served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 26 years, raised a family of six children, and continued to give to his community as a paramedic, EMS instructor and volunteer firefighter.

“Jack is a great example of a lifetime of service – personally, professionally and as a volunteer,” said Kim Kroh, executive director of the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter of the Red Cross. “We’re delighted that he received this state recognition. Closer to home, we’re so grateful for his continued service to our community through the Red Cross.”

Jack is an active member of the chapter’s board of directors and helps represent the Red Cross on the Stark County Emergency Management Agency board. He’s also a generous financial supporter, Kroh said.

“He truly lives our mission of mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors, so we can help people prevent and respond to emergencies. Red Cross fits right into his life’s work.”

“If you volunteer, you’ll love it,” Jack says without hesitation.

To learn more about the many volunteer opportunities within the Red Cross – from preventing and responding to disasters to helping blood donors to serving our armed forces to teaching first aid, babysitting or water safety skills – visit https://neoredcross.org/volunteer

Keeping Olympians Safe – And You, Too

By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

The Olympics are kicking off today and you know the tagline – “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  Luckily for the Olympians, if they suffer the agony of a bad fall, a broken bone, a concussion or worse; there are at least 80 Olympic physicians to attend to them.

Interestingly enough, the doctors that get picked for the Olympics all had to go through multiple “tryouts” themselves to get there – all done under stressful settings – to see how well they could function working with the world’s best athletes.

But we aren’t in PyeongChang anymore, Dorothy

First Aid for Cleveland

It’s safe to say the Olympic athletes will be well taken care of; but, your friends and your family aren’t in PyeongChang.  All around our country, our children, spouses and ourselves are participating in sports where we can easily get injured. So, who’s going to take care of us when there’s no doctor in sight.

Sure, calling 911 is the best thing to do immediately, but during that response time, you could often be doing more to alleviate suffering, to stabilize an injury, or to prevent further harm.  You could do that, provided you knew some first aid basics.

Okay, but how?

A well-stocked first aid kit is always a great start – one at home and one for your car. Hopefully, that would have all you need to clean a wound and to stop the bleeding.

A knowledge of different type injuries is the next step. Fortunately, there’s a free app for that.  The American Red Cross First Aid app is available for either iPhone or Android.  It not only has a quickly searchable list of accidents, there is also additional reading and quizzes to check your skills. apps

Better yet, check your local Red Cross office for upcoming First Aid classes offered throughout the area. The Red Cross trains more than 9 million people each year, and it’s always best to learn from a certified instructor.

If you are already a trained medical professional, and you have the skills, please consider volunteering to teach one of the classes.

Wife Performs CPR, Saves Husband’s Life

“You can’t leave me here.  I’m too young to be a widow. You can’t go,” Jan Durkalski pleaded.  Her husband John had just collapsed during a Sunday morning run and was struggling to breath.

Then, his breathing stopped.  So did his heart.

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John and Jan Durkalski

Jan and John were on a run together in the Cleveland Metroparks when John suffered sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed.  Jan had just renewed her cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification the day before, and the instructions were fresh in her mind when she began CPR on John.

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Jan and John Durkalski point to the spot where John collapsed during a run on January 22, 2017

“I never had to do live CPR before.  I just did it in class,” Jan explained.  “I walked away thinking ‘I’ll never have to do this.’ ”

Hear Jan and John tell the story in their own words by watching the video on our YouTube Channel.

It’s National CPR/AED Awareness Week and we are urging everyone to get trained on how to perform CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) so they can help during an emergency situation.

Many people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest die before getting to a hospital so every second counts. For every minute without defibrillation, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of surviving drops. It is critical for as many people as possible to be trained to perform CPR and know how to use an AED until advanced help arrives.

Interested in getting trained? Find information on Red Cross classes here. Last year, nearly 50,000 people in Northeast Ohio enrolled in Red Cross first aid/CPR/AED classes.

“Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of thousands of people in this country every year,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO. “National CPR/AED Awareness Week is the perfect time for people to get trained and help increase a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.”

John DurIMG_4382kalski not only survived, he is thriving.  He ran the 10K race at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in May, and plans to continue running. “40 years and one heart attack.  Why quit now?”

You can download the free Red Cross First Aid App which puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies, including sudden cardiac arrest, at your fingertips. Download by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.

 

Lifeguard Honored for Saving Classmate’s Life

“I let you save my life!”

Allison Uplinger teased Baylie White as the two graduates of Shelby High School walked through the hallways of their alma mater on Thursday, January 5th.  Baylie had just received the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit, the highest award offered by the Red Cross (so high, in fact, that it is even signed by President Obama) for a lifesaving act.

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Allison Uplinger and Baylie White at Shelby High School, after Baylie received the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit for saving Allison’s life

Last spring, while Baylie and Allison were finishing their senior year, Allison began to choke in the cafeteria.  Baylie, who has received Red Cross First Aid training as a certified lifeguard, knew immediately what was happening, and what to do.  After several sharp blows to Allison’s back, the food was dislodged and Allison was able to breathe again.

“I have been lifeguarding for several years, and so I always renew my first aid certification,” Baylie said after receving the framed certificate on the stage of the Shelby High School Performing Arts Center.  The award was given by Lara Kiefer, Executive Director of the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter, and board member Chris Hiner, the President of Richland Bank.

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Chris Hiner, Lara Kiefer and Baylie White at the Shelby High School Performing Arts Center

Allison, who has not yet received Red Cross First Aid training, said it’s on her to-do list.  “Since I plan to be a teacher, I know how important it is to be able to help a choking child.”

The Red Cross offers training in First Aid/CPR/AED, Lifeguarding, even babysitting.  Some classes can be taken online.  You can search for the class most convenient for you here.

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Shelby High School Principal John Gies joined Chris Hiner and Lara Kiefer in congratulating graduate Baylie White for her Certificate of Merit, award to her after she saved the life of classmate Allison Uplinger last spring.  Photos by Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

CPR Instructor Honored for Saving a Life

Red Cross Honors Instructor Who Used His Training at the Cuyahoga County Fair

 

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Officer Jim Mikesina

Jim Mikesina is not a superhero.  He did, however, scale a wall at the Cuyahoga County Fair this year to assist man who was in need of immediate medical attention.

Officer Mikesina was providing security at the fair in August when a worker suffered cardiac arrest. The fallen man was on a carnival ride platform, and Jim took the most direct route to get to him…by climbing a wall adjacent to the platform.

Fortunately for the fair worker, Jim is a certified American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED instructor, and administered CPR immediately.  Coworkers estimate Jim applied chest compressions approximately 400 times before the emergency squad was able to get to get the victim into an ambulance.

The Cuyahoga County Agricultural Society recently honored Jim with a plaque, in recognition of his “Extraordinary lifesaving heroism in the line of duty.”

The Red Cross also recognized Jim with a Certificate of Appreciation, “For exerting extraordinary effort and utilizing your American Red Cross CPR training to alleviate the suffering of a fellow human being.”

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Officer Jim Mikesina is congratulated by Mike Parks, CEO, Northeast Ohio Region

“Officer Mikesina went above and beyond the call of duty to reach the victim so swiftly,” said Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region. “His determination and his Red Cross training certainly paid off, as he was able to save a life that day.”

First Aid/CPR/AED training is available throughout Northeast Ohio.  Log onto redcross.org/neo and click “Training and Certification” at the top of the page to find a list of classes.

Who knows…maybe your instructor will be someone who has used his or her training to save a life, like officer James Mikesina did this year at the Cuyahoga County Fair.

Famed Speaker Makes Jubilant Return

Thanks Responders Who Performed CPR, Used an AED, Saved His Life

“You guys saved my life. It doesn’t get any better than that!”

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Dr. Stephen Sroka

Those were the first words uttered by Dr. Stephen Sroka at the Medina Performing Arts Center on Friday morning, October 21, 2016, on the very stage where 9 months earlier, he died.

Dr. Sroka, President of Health Education Consultants and a popular speaker at professional educational and school safety conferences, suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on January 15, 2016, while delivering a presentation on heroin use to the staff of the Medina City Schools.  Fortunately, two School Resource Officers and an associate principal were able to respond immediately.  All had received CPR/AED training.

“We were at the right place at the right time,” said Officer Mike Wesner. “I mean we were there within seconds.”

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School Resource Officers Al Roland, left, and Mike Wesner with Dr. Stephen Sroka on Octiber 21, 2016

Officer Wesner retrieved an automated external defibrillator (AED) while Officer Al Roland performed CPR. Associate Principal Andy Brenner, who had received AED training just two weeks earlier, administered the shock that restarted Sroka’s heart.

He has returned to the lecture circuit, but Dr. Sroka’s message now includes support of CPR and AED training, such as that offered by the American Red Cross.

Log onto redcross.org, click on Training and Certification, and enter your zip code to find a list of classes, times and locations.  Classes are also available for groups, organizations and companies.   Call Phil Ormandy at 216-426-5080 for more information.

“It saves lives,” Stephen Sroka notes. “I can attest from my still beating heart.”

Another Successful Save-a-Life Saturday

Would you know how to save someone’s life if they dropped to the ground in front of you?

Thanks to our ongoing partnership with the Cleveland Clinic Akron General, over 30 community members now know how to perform hands-only CPR.

Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR for short, is a vital skill. The Red Cross has set a goal of having one person in every household able to perform CPR. Through programs like Save-a-Life Saturday (which is held annually) and our free Citizen CPR courses, we are well on our way!

Here is a quick video that demonstrates how to perform CPR:

 

 

To learn more about our Citizen CPR course, contact your local chapter. For a complete listing of First Aid and CPR certification courses near you, visit redcross.org/takeaclass.

 

Photos: Mary Williams/American Red Cross